If it’s up to 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, Trae Lance will be with the team through the 2023 NFL season.
At the end of the day, after naming Sam Darnold the backup to Brock Birdie earlier this week, what’s in the best interest of the young quarterback?
“I think what the 49ers are going to do is see if they can find a home for him,” ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter said Thursday on “Get Up” (h/t 49ers Webzone). “They’re not looking for much. They honestly, really, want to put him in a situation where he can shine, where he can excel, because they believe he’s made improvements.
“But they’re going with Brock Purdy, they want Sam Darnold, and they want Brandon Allen. So they’re looking at adopting Dre Lance. Who wants to adopt him. They’re going to raise him the right way, in a good home, where he’s going to get a job?”
Lance, who the 49ers traded up to pick No. 3 overall in the 2021 draft, moved down the depth chart from the future of the franchise. He was named the starter for the 2022 season, but suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 and was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo, who was replaced by Purdy.
Lance and Darnold competed throughout training camp for the backup job after it became clear that Purdy would be the starter for 2023 after an incredible freshman season. In the end, Darnold came out on top.
“… [S]Since he was out of high school, I think he threw 475 passes in games,” Schefter continued. “He didn’t do any work. He has neither time nor opportunity to make his way through anyone’s mistakes. So the 49ers are willing to trade him, and they’ll be looking to trade him to somebody next week, give him a good home, give him a chance.
“If that doesn’t happen, they’ll keep him there and continue to nurture him there. But I think, in a perfect world, they’re looking to trade him before the roster cut on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The deadline.”
Understandably, there isn’t much of a trade market for Lance. He had just one season as a starter at North Dakota State and never played more than a quarter of a game at the NFL level. An NFL reporter spoke with several league executives who gauged Lance’s value in an early Day 3 NFL draft pick.
After Shanahan broke the news to Lance, who was “devastated” by the demotion, the signal-caller was noticeably better off taking the day off after both sides agreed from Wednesday’s practice. But both Shanahan and Lynch expect to play in San Francisco’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday at Levi’s Stadium.
On Thursday, Lynch addressed what Lance’s future looks like with the 49ers.
Lynch said he hopes Lance will return to the team for the regular season.
“We’re very happy with Trey,” Lynch said on KNBR’s “Murph & Mac.” “It’s probably the most likely option that he’s here. … If we find a landing spot for Trey that’s really good for him and works for our organization, we can’t turn a blind eye to that.”
“But right now our focus is not there. I think our focus is on Trey coming back here and us being a better football team.